There are perhaps two messages from today’s Gospel parable. The first, God loves the stray, the sinner, and the disadvantaged in our society. They deserve the same attention as others, to the extent that Jesus would risk the security of the remaining ninety-nine sheep in order to bring the back the lost one. No one is expendable in God’s eyes.
The second message is that God loves each of the remaining ninety-nine sheep just as much as the one stray sheep. This message perhaps is more difficult to understand and accept because the remaining sheep were left to fend for themselves in an insecure environment while he looked for the lost sheep. But perhaps the focus of the second message is: that love is not just about attention it is also about trust. Jesus trusted the remaining sheep to stay together and keep the faith. We know from experience, that perhaps the best way to feel love is not only to feel that we were recognized but also
that we were trusted.
Advent is not only about waiting for Jesus’ coming to receive his
love and attention. It is also realizing that Jesus has trusted us
to keep the faith, spread the Word, and help our neighbor. When we
have fully accepted his trust then perhaps we can say that we are
truly prepared for Jesus’ coming into our hearts.